Topic of the the week: Cleaning Your Vending Machines

Cleaning should take place every time you refill the machine. The supplies you need are very minimal and can be carried in a small backpack or box, along with new candy and collection bags. Suggested materials and products to carry while servicing your machines are:

  • Disinfectant Spray – Clorox Anywhere, Simple Green or another food safe disinfectant.
  • Paper Towels
  • Plastic Cleaner/Polish
  • Stainless Steel Polish
  • Microfiber Cloths
  • Translucent Plastic Bags – To store equipment without cross contaminating the surfaces
  • Machine Keys & Tools
  • Lubrication
  • Fresh Candy

Timing is not always something that is under control when you have multiple stops on your route, however it is best to aim for very early or very late. If you speak with the business owner you may be able to make arrangements so that you can service the machine before they open for business.

Depending on the make and model of the machine you are servicing the method of approach may be slightly different for dismantling and emptying the machine, but the cleaning procedure should remain standard.

Start by emptying the machine if the candy is not suitable for sale or consumption, filter it off into a plastic bag and discard into a suitable trash container.

  • Polish the plastic pieces and metal working from the top to the base of the machine, use separate cloths.
  • Check the coin mechanism with a test coin and lubricate the mechanism if needed.
  • Once all the surfaces are clean and shiny spray it all down with your disinfectant and wipe clean with paper towels.
  • Clean the inside of the head and any other surfaces that touch the food with the disinfectant last. *For any pieces that are you must set down, place them in a plastic bag within a container or box to maintain a professional and sanitary appearance.
  • Lastly fill the head up with fresh candy and do a final check before leaving. *Measuring out the weight of candy beforehand in order fill each head to the appropriate level can save time when servicing.

Lastly, it is recommended that you record your servicing and cleaning of the machines in a organized log, to show location owners and health department officials if necessary. Set up a general template and have a copy for each location, so you can record the details of servicing. If you have employees servicing the route it can be useful to see how long they take to service the machines and if there is anyway to improve their efficiency. Furthermore the records can be used to see how each machine is performing, whether or not product is selling well and if the servicing schedule may need to be altered.

A last note on the topic some machines have removable canisters it is good to have some spares and every once and a while swap them out. Then take the original canisters home and thoroughly wash them and put them through the dishwasher. Keep in mind to use soft sponges when washing. The scrubbing pads tend to scratch up the plastic canister and create a cloudy white look to them. Not only will this improve the sanitary conditions of your machine but it can also decrease the service time at the location.

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